Dr Connie de Vos

Postdoc Researcher, Centre for Language Studies, Faculty of Arts.


Dr Connie de Vos studied psychology and linguistics at Radboud University and, after obtaining her Master’s degree, earned her PhD in 2012 at Radboud University for research into the sign language of Kata Kolok in Bali. Since 2010, she has also been working as a project manager and researcher for the University of Central Lancashire and since 2012 she is affiliated with the Max Planck Institute. As of January 2016, she has been working on her VENI project at the Radboud University Faculty of Arts.

Dr Connie de Vos is a unique researcher who studies the origins, processing, and learning of languages by focusing on sign language. In her work, she combines various research methods, specifically corpus analysis, individual fieldwork, and computer methods. She annually performs field research in a village in Bali (Indonesia), where the Kata Kolok sign language is used by both deaf and hearing members of the community. Her scientific publications have a high impact and she demonstrates significant social involvement. In collaboration with the local authorities, she established inclusive deaf education in Bali in 2007. In addition to that, she researches Dutch sign language and, for this work, she has performed experiments in the Gebarenbus (signing bus) that visits deaf centres and schools across the Netherlands. In the context of her VENI project, she works together with the HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht on the development of teaching materials focused on facial expressions as conversational techniques in training programmes for interpreting sign language. She has also used her research as an opportunity to create awareness about the integration of deaf people in a documentary titled “One Language to Live Together”.

The jury commends Dr Connie de Vos because she scored above average for all the criteria. Her scientific publications have a high impact and she demonstrates significant social involvement. Receiving her own VENI grant with a value of 250,000 euros already shows that this winner is one of the most exceptional researchers in the Netherlands. She participates in a large number of collaborations, both at home and abroad, and contributed to a Flemish-Dutch grant proposal together with Prof. de Boer (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Prof. Fikkert (Radboud University). She also actively takes part in many research and education activities within her faculty. As a postdoc researcher, she has experience in providing Bachelor’s and Master’s education, which has been very well received. In short, since receiving her PhD in 2012 and at a relatively young age, Dr Connie de Vos has already managed to achieve many excellent results and have a substantial impact in both a scientific and social context.

The other three nominees in the Humanities Category were: Dr Wyke Stommel, Dr Laura Speed, and Dr Lien Foubert.